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Dayton Clarence Opien

Dayton Clarence Opien

October 2, 1931 - November 22, 2017

Dayton Clarence Opien, 86, of Duluth, passed away peacefully on November 22, 2017 in St. Luke's Hospital surrounded by his loving family.

Dayton, first born child of Clarence and Ruth (Enmark) Opien was born in Duluth on October 2, 1931. In 1938, Dayton, along with his parents moved into a Jackson Project home located in Hermantown. The home was one of the last to be built of the 84 Jackson Project brick homes built over a 3 year period during the latter end of the Great Depression. Living in Hermantown at that time felt like living far, far out in the country with dirt roads everywhere. Dayton arrived in Hermantown just in time to enter 2nd grade at the newly built Hermantown School that housed grades 1-12. It was a short one block walk for Dayton as the school was located on the corner of Arrowhead and Ugstad Road. There were 6 two room school houses located throughout Hermantown that were closed upon the opening of the new school. As a youth and teenager he spent endless wonderful days outdoors with the neighborhood kids as they rode bikes, swam in Pike Lake, went fishing, hunting, played sports games, had cook out on rock piles, roller skated, ice skated, went sledding or were just having fun being outdoors. Several times each summer Dayton and his friends rode their bikes to the airport. His interest in aviation began to grow and at the early age of 15 he had his first flying lesson. Following graduation from Hermantown in 1949 he began working at Master Radio, later known as Master Radio & TV, a business owned by his father located in downtown Duluth. He enlisted in the 179th Fighter Squadron, (MN Air National Guard) in the fall of 1950, entering at the rank of Airman Basic. The unit was called to active duty March 1, 1951 for a two year period. Following active duty he re-enlisted in the Air National Guard.

Dayton met the love of his life, Evelyn Blomberg who worked as a clerk at the former downtown Walgreens. They were married on June 17, 1955. Dayton and his wife enjoyed spending many summers at their lake home with their children. Following retirement he and his wife traveled to Australia and New Zealand and enjoyed their many trips to Hawaii. He became a member of the Superior Civil Air Patrol in 1962 and for many years loved piloting small aircraft. He retired from the Air National Guard in 1981, retiring at the rank of LT. Colonel following 31 years of service and in 1989 retired from Master Radio & TV.

Dayton was preceded in death by his parents and wife Evelyn.

He will be greatly missed by his children Terry (Mike) Petcoff, Debbie (Rick) Carlson, Robert (Melissa) Opien; grandchildren Jamie (Rick Fisher) Opien, Michael (Kelly Brooks) Petcoff, Nathan (Casey Fogelberg) Petcoff, Jennifer (Shawn) Jensen, Jessica Long and Mindy (Dan Zimpel) Carlson; great-grandchildren Jenna and Justin Jensen, Darla and Eloise Petcoff; sisters Carol (Larry) Bjorlin, Claire (Jim) Olson, Claudia Anick, brother-in-law Jack Callahan, along with many relatives and friends. We want to thank you Debbie for all of your time and love shown to Dad.

Memorial services will be held Friday, December 1st at 3 pm at Cremation Society of Minnesota, 4100 Grand Avenue, Duluth, MN with a visitation one hour prior.